The Glass Mill, Loampit Vale

The Glass Mill swimming pool and leisure centre (41 Loampit Vale) opened last week. For many Brockley residents, it's now our closest major sports facility.
We've been too slack to go there to get photos, but Daniel and Sonia are better people than us and have sent us these ones. Please post your reviews of the Glass Mill here.

26 comments:

SamB_UK said...

Here's my review of the swimming pool:

http://musingopiningandcriticising.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/glass-mill-leisure-centre-lewisham.html

I went to the gym for the first time today, but I want to reserve judgement until I've had a chance to use everything I want to use - it was all a bit busy this evening, which may not bode well...

Max Calò said...

I already posted mine in the other thread: http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/20m-lewisham-pool-and-leisure-centre.html#comment-931678900


I only used the pool so can't say anything about gym or else, but in short, good regular pool, excellent water, very clean and good temperature. What I dislike most is that the changing room is boiling hot and that the pool has windows watching in from the street(!).


I agree that the lack of indication for fast medium and slow lanes is a problem, I really hope they'll start putting them up.


I would also like to see the teaching pool open at evening too with the floor lowered to the deepest so that it can be used for slow swimmer and create more space in the main pool for the rest. During my visits is was well used, not crowed but it's bound to be very full soon.

SamB_UK said...

I found that very weird about the windows. When we took the tour, they talked about blinds that could be put down during Ladies Only sessions, but only on the side from the cafe - they seemed to think that it wouldn't be an issue on the window to the street as 'people won't really stop and look in and watch, and if they do it'll be easy to chase them away' (!).

I'm surprised they didn't do what Wavelengths has, and just have glass, but frosted.

ianduffy said...

The gym is excellent, with generous provision of a wide range of top-notch Lifefitness equipment and plenty of space for personal workouts. It is approximately three quarters of the cost for the gym I use near Charing Cross station, and I'll be switching my membership shortly as a result.

The gym has a separate lockers area with showers and changing facilities to the main pool, but you need your own padlock to secure the lockers. For those without, the pool changing area has lockers with a refundable £1 charge just downstairs.

SamB_UK said...

When were you in the gym Ian? I went at 8pm tonight, and there was literally one cardio machine free in the whole place (one of those difficult steppy ellipticals).

Kevin J said...

Although it is nice to have a new bath I was disappointed with my experience on Saturday morning. Although not a disaster on the Clissold Baths scale I do wonder how they got the basics wrong. Fair enough it all looks great. I love the entrance and walk through, the cafe and seating is excellent (though expensive). My problem is that the baths have a few issues which should have been considered.

There are almost no single 'family' cubicles which meant I had to change my 5 year old daughter in the open men's room. I am not shy, but others may be uncomfortable with such open plan changing rooms. Having only a tiny amount of 'family' rooms is odd. Apparently 'Great thought has gone into changing areas with separate male and female changing as well as specific areas for families and people with disabilities.' What is the reasoning with so few cubicles? Why could they have not done it like Ladywell with an open area and cubicles?

The water temperature was too cool for young children and adults who can not do lane swimming (due to looking after the children). Fair enough I appreciate adult swimmers wanting to swim but young children do not retain body heat very well. Ultimately the compromise of sharing a pool is unsatisfactory for both which is why I prefer Deptford with its separate family splash area and cool, quiet lanes area.

The onset of hypothermia could not be relieved by the showers which only worked when you stood in front of them and by that point you find out they were freezing!

The strangest thing however is the interior layout. The P.R. blurb says it was 'designed by leisure specialists LA Architects'. I would like to understand their reasoning in creating what amounts to a thoroughfare/market square for pedestrian traffic between the entrance/changing rooms and swimming pool. Did they employ anyone to assess the interior traffic? Did the council have a committee to look at this?

Although there is a tiny sign asking people to remove their shoes on entry to the swimming area - this is invariably ignored by the unwary/unobservent/ignorant or illiterate who walk through either to get changed or to present their children for lessons. To do this they have to traverse a corridor lined on one side by automatic showers! This corridor and central area is also used by swimmers leaving the pool to return to the changing room trailing wet feet.

It wasn't too bad on a July Saturday (though there was rain as we left) but by Winter there will be a lot of dirt tracked in and out by unaware people. While I was there I watched loads of people strolling in and around in their shoes.

Even if (like me) you see the sign and are conscientious enough to remove your shoes on entry, you will find yourself, at the other end of your session, pulling on your socks and suddenly realising that you have to get out of the changing rooms, across the main walking area to the exit before you can put your shoes on - and all of it is wet and (potentially) dirty. I thought about it for a few seconds before putting my shoes on and walking out of the changing rooms.

I imagine a lot of people are bringing old habits from Ladywell - but this is not an exclusive country retreat or the Arsenal training ground. I certainly do not have any sterile slippers and bathrobe. How will they stop this? Will they be posting shoe security on the door?

What I would like to understand is why they did not design it so you came into the changing rooms one way and then walked through another exit to access the pool - preferably one with a shallow foot cleaner. Perhaps they intend to add shopping concessions to the 'market area' - fast food stalls for burgers or chicken nuggets.

Also no deep end! So no deep diving. Is this a health and safety issue? How are kids meant learn what deep water is like other than jumping in the sea?

Max Calò said...

There is a separate small pool actually that presumably is kept warmer. It is separated from the main pool by a glass though (another questionable design choice).

Kate Ward said...

The separate learners' pool was definitely not any warmer. I took my seven month old daughter on Saturday and we managed about 10 minutes before her fingers started going blue.

ianduffy said...

I usually go in the mornings before work Sam. The gym I normally use gets really busy at their peak (lunchtime) as well - I guess that's why places like the £150/month Reebok in Canary Wharf exist to guarantee spare machines at all times!

SamB_UK said...

Before work probably is the best time - I'm rarely able to drag myself up for that though, and if I do it tends to be for the pool!

Michael said...

Used the pool. Bemused by changing room layouts, for reasons indicated above re: outdoor shoes, which I completely agree with. It's a bit of a labyrinth, with all the different bits.

Bemused further by the view of buses and carpet warehouse from the swimming lanes, and the view in from passers-by. The view at the back of the pool would have been nicer, rather than the A20.


The 'deep end' I can stand in and wave my arms above water. And the stairs at the shallow end already seem to be where children gather, on entry and exit from the pool.


I shall return to Forest Hill. It's double the distance from me but takes half as long to get to; one doesn't have to sit in hours of traffic to get through Ladywell to it.



In summary: disappointed.

SamB_UK said...

They did point out on the tour that they were deliberately trying to be a bit different to Wavelengths - specifically, since they have the family-friendly leisure/'play' pool there, with flumes, that Lewisham would focus more on adults and 'proper' swimming.

Steve said...

An excellent pool, with a cafe with a wide range of teas and cakes

Max Calò said...

I hope the same, I don't think it's difficult to get the temperature wrong in the first days. They were managing Ladywell Pool quite well so there's no reason why they shouldn't manage this one just the same. We'll just have to live with some design flaws, nothing is perfect in this world.

Andy said...

Kevin's review is quite accurate. Having incorporated a huge curving reception area, the architects found space for 4 family changing cubicles in the swimming pool. Really? It just shows a lack of common sense. You wouldn't think that a dad taking a daughter for swimming lessons was too unlikely a use case, but you're left with the open plan men's changing area which is unsatisfactory for everyone. And then there's the walk through the shower area to take your child to their lesson. LA Architects say of their location in Lewes that "Here we deliver better buildings". It's a shame that they couldn't do likewise in London.

Kevin J said...

Oh I wish I had been there because I would have said "But even though Wavelengths has the leisure pool it also has an adult pool for 'proper' swimming that is generally empty. So why do we need another?" Surely the argument would have been to have more child friendly pools - especially as we are on our way to a child obesity epidemic! I must admit I never saw any consultation regarding this pool. Did anyone contribute?

Kevin J said...

Yes the entrance is a fantastic waste of space! Nice chairs though. I bet they cost a bob or two. The top of the range Samsung is going to waste behind the reception. They should stick it somewhere were you can sit down and watch it.

I returned on Saturday. My son did not want to get changed in the open plan changing rooms. The floor at the end of the tunnel near the pool is already getting grimy. As they are such clever architects I would love to appreciate the reasoning behind their design.

I would also like to see the minutes of the planning team at the council who agreed this development. I wandered through to get to the Hillyfields festival afterwards. Those soulless blocks are wind corridors.

Max Calò said...

Swimmers know your rights!

On weekdays swimmers have been told to exit the pool at 9:45pm instead of the advertised 10pm.

This is:

a) in contravention of trading laws as they take your money on the basis of a publicized timetable and;

b) in contravention of the agreement with the Council as the timetable is agreed with them and they get paid by the Council according to the amount of opening hours (and these are your tax money, even if you don't swim).

I read on a comment on this blog that they have been doing the same in Forest Hill, people should not take it.

Tonight I was told to leave at 9:45 and after explaining the lifeguard these two reasons why they should not ask people to leave early I just kept swimming until I had done my routine at 9:55.

I'd like to encourage anybody who's asked to leave early to do the same.

mintness said...

They tried the same thing in the gym a few weeks ago (coming round and saying "we're closed" - not "we're closing" - at 9.45pm), but they seem to have stopped again. Not sure why.

Anon said...

The pool timetable is a joke. For competent able-bodied adult swimmers who work weekdays 9-5, which is the bulk of residents, you're heavily reliant on 'General Swim' unless you want to go before work. General Swim today consisted of 7 lanes of kids throwing balls, jumping in, small kids being taught by their parents etc. But this was not confined to the 7 general lanes. A lifeguard for some reason had kids jump in the 1 lane alllocated to people who actually wanted to swim. Wouldn't be so bad if the previous 4 hours of the afternoon hadn't been dediated to 'Family Swim' and 'Fun Session' which sound exactly like what I encountered during General Swim. All of this while the learners pool is relatively empty. Of course you do have 'Lane Swim' which most evenings consists of as few as again 2 lanes for swimmers. Sometimes that's as outlined on the timetable as the pool is shared with other activities but this week the number of lanes was reduced unannounced due to scuba diving lessons which don't even exist on the timetable and even worse no lanes when the pool was entirely closed again unanounced for Saxon Crown lessons. It's actually quite dangerous. I was hit by a rather strong swimmer going in the opposite direction a couple of times yesterday. Today in the solitary swimming lane, (labled as fast), a lad due to his lack of ability drifted to the middle of the lane and took quite a blow on the back of the head from an oncoming swimmer who had to stop to see if he was OK. Additionally small children were holding on to the divider of that lane and could've been similarly struck. And this is without frustrated faster swimmers trying to overtake which is commonplace. They just shouldn't have to. There should actually be enough lanes to cater for swimmers of all levels. As it stands the timetable somewhat contradicts the council's policy of development which is posted around the centre. I am aware it's a council gym but should I not be able to develop my swimming without having to pay to join a club? Of course there is a requirement for a variety of sessions to accomodate all but they must be adequate for for the intended purpose, be enforced to a degree and be scheduled in a way which ensures safety, convenience and optimal use of the pool space.

David S said...

Visited with my partner yesterday at 8.30pm. After queueing for ten minutes, we were told, somewhat ruefully, that the pool is full and could we try again in ten minutes. We headed for Wavelengths instead. Admittedly it was the hottest day of the year but this doesn’t bode well for the future given Lewisham’s rising population. We often swim 8-9pm weekdays and have seen things going this way, with the pool getting busier and busier. On occasions when we have got in, it’s not always been a comfortable experience. Activities like aerobics take up almost half the pool. The accompanying sound system music might be great for energetic aerobics but not for a relaxing swim. Lanes for swimming are cramped and crowded.

Quite simply, the pool is too small. As there’s no use in crying over spilt water here are a few positive suggestions: a sign at reception saying ‘pool full’ would have saved on unnecessary queuing. It should be possible to accommodate the needs of swimmers and classes during peak evening hours; could not classes take place in the learner pool which (rather gallingly) is entirely empty? Fewer but wider lanes would be good.

Overall impressions: nice quality of water… everything clean as you’d expect in a brand new building… staff pleasant and helpful but unable to cope with queues at reception… why the overlarge curved reception area? Is this to become some kind of exhibition space? …slightly confusing layout and unattractive ‘male’ ‘female’ icons for changing areas… not all the touch-activated showers work.

I think I’m getting used to the surreal experience of swimming towards Carpet Right at pavement level (odd to have those huge windows overlooking the street though).

I’ve put my comments to Fusion. Will be interested to hear their
response.

Patricia said...

I wanted to enroll a gym so I called The Galss Mill in Loampit Vale to book a tour (as it says in their website); The gentleman who picked up the phone said there was no need, just to pop in anytime and somebody would show me around & explain prices and so. So I went the next day after my shift and even though the center was bustling with people there were only 2 more people queuing in reception; the one before me went to one receptionist and I went to the other (leaving one person waiting behind). When I asked the lady if I could be shown around and I was interesting in using the facilities she told me it couldn't be done because they were too busy for me and that I should come back another day but earlier (seriously???? shall i skip work so you don't need to make any effort?). I was shocked; 1st i call & then i do as they ask me to & i am rejected. Well if this is how the treat their prospective customers (people usually make an effort to capture new business) I don't want to know how the treat people once they are already enrolled. Very disappointing.
I went to Soho Gyms which is as close as this one from my house and even thought it is smaller, they treated me fine, the showed me around, explained to me what i wanted to know, waved off that stupid start up fee that seems to be so fashionable and the monthly fee is cheaper. It hasn't got a crowded swimming pool where people can see me from the street and a small climbing wall, but it has classes and a gym (which is all I need).

Asya Kovarsky said...

Any tips on getting Soho Gyms to waive the fee? Glass Mill may be spiffy but the staff is simply terrible and the gym just isn't pleasant as a result, lots of issues. Want to try Soho but don't fancy paying the joining fee...

Patricia said...

Pop in these days as I think they are waving it off as a promotion because i didn't even have to argue or fight, the guy that showed me around offered it to me straight away :) It is not a fancy gym but it is an OK gym and the busiest days (Mon and Tue) are still not that bad. PR

Asya Kovarsky said...

Thanks, I will give it a try :)

Lucy may said...

Went here today with my 14 year old brother whose been using the gym for a while now. Wasn't too pleased with the ultra rude receptionist who changes her tune every week with my brother. She seems to alter the prices and the rules !. A bit dodgy too that she wouldn't let him in because he didn't have proof that he was a junior and couldn't due to safety reasons but was quite willing to let him in as an adult. He also hasn't had a gym induction which is illegal too. The manager didn't seem to be too bothered by all of this so I Won't be using glass mill again due to bad experience with the staff.

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